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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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A Cure for the King's Boredom
Submitter: Date: 2006/3/10 Views: 554 Rate: 5.00/2
Summary: Author: sandyg
Type: FPS, RPS
Pairing: Aragorn/Orlando
Rating: PG-13 to start
Disclaimer: No money made from anything.
Author notes: I remember someone at the Characters in Bloom site posted this plot bunny and it stuck with me. Here it finally is... oh yes, and I know that in book canon Halbarad died in battle but I like him so heís still breathing. I see him as Aragornís protective older bro.
Summary: After many years as King Aragorn finds himself needing to quell his physical urges. Along comes a young Harad savage to tease his senses

Chapter 1

Aragorn sighed and stared out into the brilliant summer afternoon. His sharp eyes tracked the fluid heat shimmers dancing off the outer marble court basking beyond the vibrant red trumpet vines. Each time Aragorn viewed those sinuous vines he remembered Legolasí advice about conquering the sterile palaceís bleak lines. In the summer the sight of the cascading gardens softening Minas Tirithís sterness reminded him to invite Legolas and Gimli to the palace again. He hadnít seen them in months. The only trouble was inviting them meant being attacked by their incredibly lively children. When that mob descended no one was safe plus they incited his tranquil daughters to acts of abnormal rebellion. Those visits made Arwen scold him for weeks as if he somehow caused them. Ahhh.

As he toyed with his pen Faramir exchanged an amused glance with Halbarad, Aragornís close friend and head counsel. They knew what that heavy sigh meant; Aragorn felt bored so his mind wandered away from the compact outer council room. Yes, a bored Aragorn usually meant that no further constructive work would spring from this informal meeting.

Halbarad rested his powerful body back in his chair and offered his King a mocking smile. "Hmm, pray tell, dear Aragorn, are we truly so dull?"

Starting a little in his ornately carved chair Aragorn pulled his glance back toward his old friend and shrugged his broad shoulders. "Nay, this matter of what to do with Annķminas and her constant unrest is hardly dull. I cannot believe that I returned and built Elendilís beloved capital city back to its old grace then the Fornost nobles childishly decide they donít appreciate that I neglected their fair city. I truly would like to simply knock all their heads together and be done with it but, unfortunately, I am the King, not a tavern brawler." Another frustrated sign escaped his lips. "No, today I simply feel restless. With Arwen so busy with her new twin daughters and headstrong young Eldarion off chasing every maid that glances his way I... find myself lacking for true companionship. No slur on your fine friendships but..." Aragorn shrugged again and shook back his long rich brown albeit touched with gray hair. "You know how things are with me."

Faramir released his own sad sigh and shook his wheat-hued mane. Yes, they knew exactly how things were between the fair Arwen and Aragorn. While there was great love and respect between the King and Queen those close to the pair had not been surprised when Arwen became more involved with her precious children than her husband. Their marriage was stable, and Aragorn loved his children, but he was a physical creature. After meeting the gloriously beautiful and genteel Elf maiden both Faramir and Halbarad immediately knew that the match, on a certain basic level, proved a profound mistake. Not lethal, not destructive, simply... a mistake. Indeed there was love, there was respect but there was nothing else. Whatever romantic fire once existed had long banked into safe embers.

Yes, on a curious level the marriage was a subtle mistake that led Aragorn to his frequent bouts with physical boredom.

After watching Aragornís attention wander again Faramir gathered up the scattered papers and gestured his firm chin toward the door. His merry blue eyes almost sparkled in teasing glee. "My King, I understand that new recruits for the Gondorian palace guards arrived today. Perhaps you could take a break and review them?"

As he gazed over at his wily Steward Aragorn allowed a slow smile to curve his lips. "Yes, dear Faramir, that is a splendid idea. Perhaps Iíll test them out personally." Aragornís smile widened in playful insinuation.

Both Faramir and Halbarad rolled their eyes in mocking disgust. Halbarad drummed his long fingers on the polished table top. "Yes, oh mighty Aragorn, go show the young pups your legendary sword skills. That might quell some of your recent boredom."

Aragorn playfully flicked his hands toward his friends then he rose and swept from the secondary council room. As he shook his head Faramir grinned at Halbarad. "Yes, I took a quick look at those recruits before we settled into this meeting. I have a strong feeling that one fetching lad will catch our Lordís bored eye."

"Well then if heís likely enough heíll end up catching more than Aragornís wandering eye." Halbarad snorted in supreme disgust. "I hope at least this time the chit lasts longer than a week. That last handsome yet intolerable creature was a horrendous mistake. I swear our King only looks at their faces and no further."

"Well Aragornís not looking to love them, heís looking to bed their masculine beauty and work off some of his boredom. Or at least thatís how I see the matter."

"Still... I hope for once that Aragorn uses a little of his legendary common sense. I swear once he sees a handsome face it flees right from his mind. Poof." Halbarad shook his gray-maned head in sudden sorrow. "Oh Faramir, did you note Aragornís little slip; he spoke of Arwenís children. I know the remark was but a minor thing but it still saddened me."

Faramir shrugged in dismissal. "Worry not, Halbarad, he loves those children as much as anything in all Middle Earth. Currently poor Aragorn is lacking Eldarionís earlier hero worship; now the young man would rather carouse with his mates than trail behind his royal father. Aragorn has spoiled that youth something terrible since his own secretive upbringing was so strict. And right now his young daughters are just too feminine for Aragorn to handle. Theyíd rather talk silks and gowns then swing a sword. Although I do confess Aragorn is good with his adorable little twins. I think heís fascinated by them. They are truly sweet." As he clapped his hand on his friendís right shoulder Faramir rose from his seat. "Now speaking of family I have a dear wife whom I promised a sunset picnic. Sheíll feel pleased to see me freed earlier than my estimated time."

An even deeper _expression of sorrow briefly passed over Halbaradís chiseled features before he halted and brought up a positive smile. "How fairs your exceptional wife? I am glad she is up to a picnic! When last I went to see her she was resting in bed."

This time Faramir struggled with a grim _expression then his normal good humor took over. "When I declare that my …owyn is still the most stunningly lovely Shield Maiden in all the land she laughs and mockingly points at her enchanting silver hair. I cannot win! Still dear …owyn is recovering with miraculous speed. It will take more than a maladjusted heart to slow my glorious warrior bride down. She grows more hale and hearty with each passing day. Yes, today will be her first day in the sun."

"Then go with all haste and prepare that special picnic. And tell your dear …owyn that I also think her the most stunningly lovely Shield Maiden in all the land. No arguments, all right? Kiss her for me."

The two friends laughed again and departed from the shadowed room.

**************************

As he entered the large stone chamber leading toward the heat-shimmered practice yard Aragorn briefly returned the respectful salutes aimed his way. Even after long years occupying the throne he still wasnít comfortable with all the fussy attention and pomp directed at him. He was human King, not a member of the very Valar. But still he had to endure the endless bowing and scraping. The acts nearly drove him mad.

Moving with his typical stealthy grace Aragorn mounted the flight of wooden stairs leading to the observation platform. The glaring sun swept over the uncovered wooden expanse. Intense heat shimmers danced and cavorted, they determined to try and conquer the Kingís watchful eyes. After long years as a Ranger Aragorn knew never to argue with the sunís hot wrath. He held up his right hand as a shield over his eyes and glanced down at the men engaged in swordplay. Hmm, not bad at all.

Hallas, his captain of arms, noticed him and waved his King a casual salute. As Hallas smiled his wrinkles etched into profound ravines. "My lord, welcome to the monthly winnowing. Beastly hot today, eh? Luckily these lads are from Harad so they can endure the summer heat."

Aragornís eyebrows raised in curious interest. "Harad? All right, yes, I am the champion for diversity and tolerance but we now trust the Haradrim as palace guards? I know they occupy high ranks in the standing army but still, I confess that the thought of former enemies guarding my royal back gives me some pause."

Hallas shrugged and winked. "I can well understand your words, Sire. But youíd be surprised to see how many of them come here to serve you. Since you were merciful to their families they want their chance at fitting into this civilized new Age. They are an ambitious race, wily and lethal. Unfortunately they are usually too undisciplined and wild to make top guards but they still can merge into the lower ranks and move up. Yet not one of them has become an actual palace guard. But I see great potential in this lot... especially one in particular. Look to the left, just below the statue of Isildur; see that youth with the long dark hair? Heís quite controlled and knows his blade like a dear lover. The ladís got a bit of an quick tongue on him, but I always did harbor a soft spot for the rebellious ones."

As he listened Aragorn stared down into the sand and sweat choked ring. His light eyes focused on the indicated fighter. Once he assessed the long trim male lines one corner of his sensual mouth crooked up toward the fierce sun. Oh yes, the always concerned Halbarad would pitch a major fit. The King take a young Harad savage as a lover? Yes, the thought of the delicious fuss he would cause made Aragornís smile widen. It had been a long time since he enjoyed a savage wildcat in his bed. This tall, graceful man might provide quite a pleasant distraction.

Aragornís lust controlled his mouth. "Hallas, call a break. Iíd like to examine these men a little more closely."

"Of course, Sire. In this heat they could use the break." Hallas called out and clapped his hands. An iron bell rung. The sparring men all heaved sighs of weary relief and fetched water from the corner cistern. Aragorn descended to the shimmering ringís outer edge and cast his intense gaze over the panting men.

Hallas barked out his warning. "Listen up, you grunts, the King of Gondor and Arnor is among us! Straighten up and offer your respect!"

The men turned as a unit and assumed awkward positions of fawning acknowledgment. As they fell silently watchful Aragorn saluted them and stepped forward into the blazing sun. "Hail, loyal men of Harad. Yes, you are welcome in the new Gondor. I suppose our summer heat seems mild to you."

A few smiles and nods broke out among the sweaty men. Aragorn noted that the object of his attention neither smiled nor nodded. He simply remained intently staring at Aragorn, an unreadable _expression infecting his large, dark eyes. Oh yes, this one looked fascinating. There was something intriguingly rebellious about him.

Since he had their attention Aragorn resumed his speech. "So you seek to be palace guards, eh? Iíll warn you now that is not an easy road to travel. You must possess superb discipline, flawless swordsmanship and steely nerves. As a palace guard your entire life belongs to me and I expect nothing less than your complete loyalty. Does that sound like something that you courageous men of Harad can handle?"

A firm "Aye, Sire" welled from the ten tanned throats.

"Well then, you think you are fit to serve me. Thatís a fine start. So..." Aragorn turned back to Hallas and held out his right hand. "Hallas, I feel a need to engage in a little exercise. Bring my battle sword."

"Yes, Sire." Hallas snapped his weathered fingers toward a guard who hastened away and returned with a large, capable looking sword. A small leather cap tucked on the sharp tip ensured that no one would be mortally wounded.

Aragorn accepted the blade then he experimentally swirled the heavy length a few times. He hadnít been out on the practice yard in two weeks; that was a sad state of affairs. Time to rectify that sick error. Resting the sword against his thigh Aragorn stripped off his maroon silk tunic and waited as guards fastened a stout leather practice jerkin around his broad chest. As the guards fastened the straps Aragorn reached up and swiftly twined a few braids into his long hair to control the dark flow. Interesting how decorated these men of Harad appeared; their own long, thick manes sported an assortment of tiny cowry shells, bright copper wire and colorful glass beads. Aragorn was glad that his preyís high-cheekboned face wasnít marred by ceremonial tattoos, ritual scarrings or a matted beard. He liked his loverís cheeks smooth shaven. He thought that preference a hold over from his youthful affairs with a few lovely male Elves. Yes, Legolasí smooth elegant beauty had marked Aragornís preferences for life.

Once he finished limbering up his firm arm again Aragorn cradled his sword handle in his palm and stepped forward. His sharp eyes examined each man in feigned interest. There was no need to look; he already knew which one he wanted.

He finally paused before the tall, olive-skinned youth with the bold dark eyes. Reaching out his sword Aragorn tapped the flashing weight against the youthís shining metal. "A fine blade; how does one so young posses such an esteemed-looking blade?"

The youthís entire lean body stiffened. An offended look instantly stormed into his liquid dark eyes. "Sire, you think that I came to have this blade by misadventure?"

Mmm, a prickly one. Curious. Aragorn soothingly shook his head yet he kept his eyes locked to his preyís. "Not at all. I am thinking the blade must be a precious family heirloom."

After hesitating the young man nodded in cautious pride. "Aye, the blade was my grandfatherís."

"Was your grandfather a warrior?"

Upon hearing this simple query a shadow fell across the youthís fine-boned features. "Yes, my grandfather was a mighty warrior."

Aragorn wondered what he truly meant. "But what of your Father?"

To Aragornís surprise the youth harshly spat at the scuffed sand and angrily shook his handsome head. His melodic voice emerged in a choking growl. "I have no true Father."

Hallas reached out and roughly prodded the Haradís strong shoulder. "I told you, lad, to watch your mouth and actions. You are speaking to a King here and you shall address him as such, understand?"

The Harad ducked his head in brief remorse yet Aragorn knew he didnít mean it. "I beg forgiveness, Sire, Captain. I meant no harm. I am simply not used to being in the company of Kings." A subtle mockery laced the melodically smoky voice.

Aragorn desperately contained his merry smile. Oh yes, this pretty lad was bold. "Yes, that is understandable. But what I donít understand is how you have no Father. Are you telling me that you merely sprung from the Earth fully formed or was there a miraculous virgin birth that somehow didnít come to public light?"

The warriorís wide dark eyes became guarded. "I really would rather not speak of it, Sire, that is if I have your leave to remain silent on the matter."

Even more curious. Aragorn nodded in acceptance. "I did not mean to cause you pain. Very well, you may keep your secrets. However I would know your name."

"Orlando..." A swift second passed before "Sire," completed his speech.

"And I suppose since you have no Father you have no last name."

Intense pride made the young man seem even taller. "I sincerely hope that I shall make a name for myself, Sire."

Aragorn inclined his head. "Excellent. I appreciate such fierce incentive. Speaking of incentive I would like to see if you can handle that fine sword correctly."

Orlando narrowed his eyes and allowed a ghost of a smile to grace his full lips. "Do I fight against the infamous Andķril, formerly Narsil, Sword of Elendil?"

An equally subtle smile answered the Haradís query. "No, Orlando No Name, you fight against a Ranger once named Striderís honest war blade which does not own a lofty name but it does still possess a keen edge. I would hardly waste the blessed Andķril on mere practice in the ring."

"That does seems wise indeed." As he met Aragornís light gaze Orlando paused and dropped his voice into dry mockery. "But, Sire, do you truly wish to waste yourself on such a miserably warm day? Both the day and you are no longer... young, Sire. The full afternoon sun is a harsh mistress and you sweat merely from feeling her bright kiss."

Hallasí next fierce prod almost knocked Orlandoís lithe body down to the hot sand. "Blessed Gods, you are an impertinent whelp of a Harad! That does it. I have been tolerant but enough! I..."

Unable to contain his smile Aragorn held up his left hand. "Hallas, dear Hallas, the boy but speaks the truth. Leave off."

Orlando stiffened once more. "Please, I am not a boy, Sire."

"Compared to me you are so I will call you boy."

"I have seen 20 summers."

"And I have seen 132 summers but I still believe I can send you sprawling against the sand."

At hearing Aragornís age Orlando blinked in sheer amazement. So the rumors were true! "How can it be that you are so ancient yet you look like a man of 45?"

As he spoke Aragorn frowned in remorse. "A tiny drop of Elven blood circulates in my veins. Itís both a gift and a curse since except for those of my heritage others around me age at a rapid pace. The only friend I have that does not age at all is my dear war companion Legolas, since he is a full Elf."

Orlando blinked again. He felt as if he listened to fireside legends. "There are still Elves in the world? I heard tell that they all deserted their human friends for their eternal paradise across the sea."

"Nay, they did not desert us and yes, some still reside in Ithilien under Legolasí guidance. Perhaps if you are taken into the palace guard you might even get to meet him someday. He comes here to teach bow skills long forgotten by most men and to visit me. But enough chatter." Aragorn lifted his blade and saluted. "Come, Orlando No Name, show me how a fatherless son of Harad fights the sweaty old King."

At the salute Orlando finally released a true smile. He bowed and followed Aragorn into the sand ring's center.

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